Former Kiis FM star John Caldwell accuses ARN of ‘bullying’ and ‘discrimination due to him being gay’

Former Kiis FM Celeb HQ host, John Caldwell, has accused his former radio station and parent company, ARN, of “bullying” and “discrimination due to him being gay”.

Caldwell’s contract was terminated by ARN late last month over an incident involving another Kiis FM employee. According to a statement released by AMC Media, Caldwell has made a General Protections Application under the Fair Work Act involving his dismissal, alleging he was not told any details about the complaint, and was at no stage interviewed or asked for his side of the story.

John Caldwell (left) with his former co-host, Zoe Marshall

The incident took place at the 2018 Australian Commercial Radio Awards. According to Caldwell’s statement, it involved an aggressive verbal homophobic attack by the employees, which included words to the effect of “you’re a homo”, “poofter”, “fucking faggot” and “I’m not a fucking faggot”.

“Later the same evening, the aggressive verbal attack was continued by the fellow employee. Prior to his sacking, and shortly after the ACRAs, Mr Caldwell made a complaint about the homophobic verbal attack he had been subjected to,” the statement said.

Caldwell also alleges he has suffered from years of bullying at ARN, which has made him feel suicidal. He said he made numerous complaints to ARN, but nothing meaningful had been done. In his statement, Caldwell noted he had complained about these issues, and that he would need to leave the company if not addressed.

“A senior executive regularly used words to him to the effect of ‘we just don’t upset the KJ [Kyle & Jackie] machine. If you’ve got a problem, we can find a workaround, but we never upset the KJ machine’,” Caldwell’s statement said.

Caldwell has declined to make further comments.

A spokesperson for ARN told Mumbrella: ARN are not aware of any proceedings commenced against KIIS FM or ARN by John Caldwell, and will rigorously defend any claims if they commence.

“John Caldwell’s contract was ended in October. Due to privacy reasons we don’t comment on individual contracts however John was given the reasons for his contract ending.

“ARN prides itself on its passionate work in the area of diversity and inclusion, particularly with LGBTQI initiatives and the broader community.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this story, Lifeline provides 24/7 support and online resources. Call 13 11 14 or visit


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